I just read parts of Judith Warner's book, “Perfect Madness: Motherhood in an Age of Anxiety.” Although she comes at it from a different angle, the author touches on the same issue I’ve been ranting and raving about for the last 22 years (as some of my friends and acquaintances are wont to remind me!). And it hasn’t gotten any better.
Where are, as salon.com calls them, the Mothers Who Think?? Why do the worlds of bright, educated, talented women narrow so dramatically when they give birth?
I don’t mean that women are raising their children thoughtlessly (although that’s potentially another topic); I mean the women who think and talk about something else other than their kids. There’s a whole world out there!! And they would be healthier, happier mothers if they would expand their horizons.
My children are my priority, I just don’t want to talk about them all day.
I was/am a stay-at-home mom. I believe strongly in it and am grateful to have the option. I’ve always done something else on the side but my children are my priority (despite what my teenagers think). I just don’t want to talk about them all day.
I don’t want to hear about sales on children’s clothing, or discuss brands of strollers or the price of cereal. I’ll share your joyful moments with you -- once. Not over and over again. Your child may be adorable but that’s a rather limited conversation.
I want to talk about the potential new Supreme Court Justices, The Grokster case, new tools for personal growth, fascinating insights from the Torah and provocative questions discovered therein.
Don’t get me wrong. I'm not claiming that my discussions are superior or my intellect finer. I’m just describing what I enjoy and how for some reason it's so hard to find…
Even when my children were very young and things were hectic in a different way, I always insisted on having Shabbos guests. Some of the motivation may have been my commitment to reach out to my fellow Jews, but most of it was selfish. I craved adult conversation and the thought-provoking discussions we had at our table. Torah gripped my imagination with its intellectual depth and breadth, with the continually fascinating ideas, new questions and its program for personal and communal growth.
Does motherhood have to mean that our conversations are limited to diaper brands? Or can we unobtrusively wipe up the spit-up as we discuss life’s deeper issues?